May, 22 2014 08:40:00

Kerry labels China's East Sea actions ‘provocative'

Viet Nam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. — VNA/VNS Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — United States Secretary of State John Kerry has described China's action in placing an oil rig in Viet Nam's territorial waters as ‘provocative'.

Kerry was talking to his Vietnamese counterpart, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, by phone.

He spoke highly of Viet Nam's restraint. He said this was reflected in the persistent use of peaceful solutions and dialogue, preventing the escalation of tensions.

Kerry expressed deep concern about developments, saying that China's installation of the oil rig in the East Sea was a provocative act that raised tensions in the region.

He reaffirmed the US's stand on the peaceful settlement of disputes in the East Sea on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

Acknowledging recent positive progress in bilateral ties, especially in economics, trade and investment, Minh, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said Viet Nam was willing to co-ordinate with the US in implementing "concrete measures to further boost the comprehensive partnership between the two countries".

Regarding China's unilateral placement of a drilling rig in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, he said China had continually increased the number of ships at the site, including missile boats, fast-attack craft and amphibious landing ships. He said this had made the situation very tense.

The Deputy PM said Viet Nam had exercised the utmost restraint and maintained dialogue to avoid clashes.

He said Viet Nam had also firmly requested China to remove the rig and ships from the area, as they violated Viet Nam's sovereignty, sovereign right and jurisdiction, threatened marine stability and safety, and infringed upon the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Minh also said that Viet Nam had decided to join the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a global effort that aimed to stop trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems.

Kerry commended Viet Nam's decision, saying it was an important step in realising the country's strong commitment to preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and enhancing security and safety of global trade and peace in the Asia-Pacific region.

On Tuesday, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh said that after considering all aspects of the PSI carefully, Viet Nam had declared to join the initiative on the basis of its support for the Statement of Interdiction Principles adopted in Paris on September 4, 2003.

This decision reflects Viet Nam's consistent stance of backing international co-operation for preventing risks of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. and related transport systems and materials, contributing to ensuring global peace and security, in line with international and national laws as well as powers and resources of each country.

Viet Nam will participate in activities to realise the PSI within its capabilities, Binh said. — VNS

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